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Ben Goldsmith / Senior Staff Photographer

After Saturday's win over Penn, the Lions are positioned well to compete for the 2018 Ivy League title.

With back-to-back goals in the first half, men’s soccer beat Penn 2-0 on Friday to remain undefeated in the Ivy League.

In the 35th minute of the first half, junior midfielder John Denis took a shot on the Lions’ (5-2-1, 2-0-0 Ivy) fifth corner kick play of the match. Denis’s shot was blocked but not caught by the Penn (2-3-3, 0-2-0 Ivy) goalkeeper, Scott Forbes, and senior forward Dylan Mott was quick to put away the rebound.

Less than five minutes later, Denis continued to create chances for the Lions by laying off a ball to senior defender Nike Azuma from a few yards outside of the box. Azuma ran up to the pass and hit a rising shot past Forbes into the upper left corner of the goal. With the score at 2-0, senior goalkeeper Dylan Castanheira ended the half with one more save to keep the Quakers from cutting down the Lions’ lead.

In the second half, Mott continued the Lions’ offensive play with an attempt at goal but was stopped by Forbes. Penn responded in the 49th minute by challenging Castanheira, but it failed to get on the scoresheet. Neither goalie had to make a save for the rest of the game, and Columbia picked up another Ivy League victory and clean sheet, along with Azuma’s first goal of the season.

At the end of the weekend, Columbia now sits tied with Cornell at the top of table with two wins apiece. Both teams have scored about twice as many goals as they have conceded this season and have looked strong after the first two Ivy League match days. Dartmouth, last year’s champion and the initial favorite to win this year’s title, currently has two points from two draws and would need a strong remainder of the season to finish on top.

The Lions will attempt to extend their undefeated Ivy record with a home game against Princeton at the Rocco B. Commisso Soccer Stadium this Saturday at 1 p.m.

sammy.applebaum@columbiaspectator.com | @CUSpecSports

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